Lowell homered off Looper, Florida’s former closer, in the 10th inning to give the Marlins a 3-2 victory over the New York Mets. The homer, Lowell’s 14th, tied him for the major league lead and helped Florida (29-20) move a season-best nine games over .500.
Looper (0-1) was making his first appearance in his former home park since signing with the Mets in the offseason. He worked out of a jam in the ninth, but couldn’t retire Lowell in the 10th, giving up a homer that easily cleared the left-field wall.
“It’s kind of what you dream about,” said Lowell, who was Looper’s teammate for five seasons. “Those are the situations you put yourself in when you play Wiffle ball in the backyard.”
Looper, who called the fastball offering to Lowell “boneheaded,” found it anything but dreamy.
“There’s not much of a worse feeling than to give up a walkoff home run,” Looper said. “It doesn’t get much worse than that. … I just put it in as bad a spot as I could have put it, and he just crushed it.”
Justin Wayne (3-1), the fourth Florida pitcher, worked a perfect 10th to cap a one-hit, three-inning showing by the bullpen, which helped the NL East-leading Marlins take a two-game lead over Philadelphia.
Ty Wigginton homered for the Mets, who fell to 23-25 and missed a chance to return to .500.
“We didn’t get the big hits,” Mets manager Art Howe said. “The pitching staff gave us the opportunity to get it done. … We’re not getting hits. Guys are battling. We’re just not hitting the holes.”
Florida missed two late opportunities, stranding runners on the corners in the eighth and another in scoring position in the ninth. But in the 10th, Lowell came through off Looper, who saved 28 games for the Marlins last year.
Marlins starter Carl Pavano gave up two runs and six hits in seven innings, striking out five and walking three. The Mets left six runners on base—three in scoring position—over the fifth, sixth and seventh innings against Pavano, who repeatedly fought his way out of trouble.
“We’ve been doing this all year,” Pavano said. “We battled hard. We went in there against a tough closer in the 10th inning and one of our best hitters put the ball out of the park. Mikey took a great swing.”
Danny Garcia struck out with runners on first and second, ending the fifth. Vance Wilson grounded into a 6-4-3 double play with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth, and Garcia grounded out to shortstop in the seventh, wasting Kaz Matsui’s two-out triple.
Seo, who had a 5.65 ERA over his previous three starts, overcame a shaky first inning. He allowed two runs, five hits and five walks in six innings.
“The start of the game was a bit of struggle, but as the game went along I felt more comfortable,” Seo said.
Seo walked Florida’s first three hitters in the opening inning, yet the Marlins managed to push across only one run. Lenny Harris, who batted fourth because Miguel Cabrera was held out of the starting lineup, grounded into a double play and Jeff Conine hit an inning-ending flyout.
The Mets tied it in the second on Wigginton’s fifth homer, and took a 2-1 lead in the fourth after a great hustle play by right fielder Karim Garcia.
Danny Garcia led off with a single, stole second and went to third on Shane Spencer’s groundout. With two out, Karim Garcia hit a grounder to the right of first base and beat Hee Seop Choi’s throw to Pavano covering the bag—allowing Danny Garcia to score.
Another leadoff walk issued by Seo, this time to Conine, helped the Marlins tie it in the fourth. Conine scored three batters later on a hard single toleft by Gonzalez.
Seo has walked 19 and struck out 15 in 41 2-3 innings. … Harris hadn’t started a game batting fourth since May 1999 and he may not get the chance again soon. He stranded runners in scoring position in each of his three at-bats. … Cabrera got the day off because of tightness in his left leg. He’s expected to return to the lineup Sunday. … Piazza’s hitting streak, which was the longest by a Met this season, ended at 13 games. … Mets CF Mike Cameron, who entered the game third in the NL with 51 strikeouts, fanned twice more. He did single in the ninth, raising his average to .197. … The Marlins had a runner in every inning against Seo, but LHP John Franco set them down in orderin the seventh. … The Mets turned four double plays, three of them 4-6-3.